Gingerbread Blossom Cookies

Gingerbread Blossom Cookies

Since Halloween is officially over, I usually just eat all of the candy leftover from trick or treaters like it’s no big deal. Heck, that’s why I’d get chocolate…always. However, with this diet thing going on, I felt like I could totally do the whole portion control thing. That lasted one night…when I caught myself eating 3 Reeses cups the next afternoon, I decided ALL of the candy had to go.

Even the pumpkin spice kisses in the freezer. :-(

So, I decided to make blossom cookies with them, but I didn’t want to do plain sugar cookies. I wanted to do something a little different and more festive. I know it’s not the holiday season yet (to the majority, that is…I’m so ready to decorate for Christmas…judge away). However, gingerbread is fall spice-ish, so I figured it would probably work. Um…yeah…this totally worked. TOTALLY. These cookies are a soft, chewy gingerbread and with the pumpkin spice kisses in the middle?? Y’all…I can’t even. These cookies had to get out of our house! Thankfully, my coworkers didn’t mind polishing these off. :-)

Now, I know these kisses are a Halloween candy, but you may luck out at your store. I saw them at my local Target a couple of days ago, and right now, the Halloween candy is SUPER cheap, so if you love these kisses, stock up! I really wish Hersheys would make this a year-round candy, but I guess it’s better for my thighs this way. :-P

Gingerbread Blossom Cookies
Source: cookie recipe from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Additional sugar for rolling
  • Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer, mix the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add in the egg and molasses.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until everything is well-combined.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out cookies and roll the dough into granulated sugar. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes, until puffy and lightly browned along the edge.
  4. Immediately after taking the cookies out, press a kiss candy into the center of each cookie. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely. Since these kisses are a softer chocolate, you may want to place them in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes, to allow the kiss candy to set before serving.

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

This past weekend, Hocus Pocus was on cable. Twice. So I watched it twice, of course. Thank goodness LSU’s game was a morning game or I would have been a little torn. Growing up in the 90s, Hocus Pocus just screams Halloween to me. I actually remember my parents not letting us watch the movie at first, because it was rated PG. Yes, I know how sheltered this makes me sound, but I understand. I probably would have had nightmares about my life being sucked out by a witch or something.

I love my parents, but as a kid, they were very strict about what my siblings and I could have. For example, when I got my first CD player, “Santa” included a copy of “Jagged Little Pill” with it, and the minute my mom heard “da*n” from the CD, I had to return it and ended up with Spice Girls. No offense to Spice Girls, but I really wanted Alanis Morissette’s CD. Also, when I had braces, most of the kids in class were rule breakers. They ate sticky candy and chewed gum, but I didn’t dare try that in front of my parents. One of the biggest candies I missed was caramel. Caramel is in so many things I love, like Snickers or a good ice cream sundae. So yeah, the braces phase of life REALLY stunk.

Now that I’m an adult, of course I don’t have anyone to tell me no PG movie or gum for you. I don’t necessarily junk up my life, but it’s cool to have that freedom, especially in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, I noticed these caramel bits in the grocery store and immediately thought of throwing them in cookies. Since it’s fall, of course I had to involve pumpkin, and I found this recipe. The original recipe involved butterscotch chips, but I added caramel bits and dried cranberries instead. Fantastic, right? Oh heck yes. :-) You can’t go wrong with these cookies…in fact, the pumpkin oatmeal base makes it too tempting to add all sorts of fun ingredients to them.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
Source: adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup caramel bits (or you could use chocolate chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set those aside.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a small bowl. (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and salt) Set the dry mixture to the side while you prepare your wet ingredients
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, mix the butter and sugars for a couple minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until well-blended. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until well-blended.
  4. Slowly add in the dry mixture, and mix until just combined. With a spatula or spoon, stir in the oats, dried cranberries and caramel bits (or chocolate chips).
  5. Using a tablespoon sized scoop, scoop the dough and drop each dollop onto your cookie sheets (giving about 2 inches in between). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies appear to be set and are golden along the edges. When they are done, allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a regular cooling rack until they are completely cool!

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time last week, our living room was completely full. While I enjoy having family over to visit, it wasn’t because of a celebration. Rather, we were sitting in our living room, praying for our power to stay on,  and stressing about how terrible the wind/rain would be. Hurricane Isaac visited slammed southeast Louisiana, almost making landfall on the exact day that Hurricane Katrina hit. All of these feelings of anxiety just rushed back, and I hoped and prayed that our levee system would hold for my family’s sake.

When the storm was at its peak, I noticed that my family and I were definitely stress eating. I know stress eating isn’t healthy but sometimes, something like a freshly baked cookie just hits the spot and helps a little to make things more comforting. Of course, sitting through a hurricane where the winds are howling past your windows, rain is pouring horizontally, and the dogs are freaking out just can’t ever be comfortable, but something about snacks…I can’t explain it, but it just helped to get our minds off of things. These cookies were thick, chewy and just darn delicious.

Now, as for me and my (immediate) family, we were very lucky. My parents’ fence fell down, and that was the worst of it for them. However, my heart is heavy for those whose homes were flooded or otherwise destroyed from this storm. When I go to Facebook lately, quite a few of the statuses from my friends aren’t about football or politics. They’re about finding a place to do laundry, because they have no power; finding a place to take a shower after spending their whole day hauling damaged items out of their home; hoping they can find water and food for their families; hoping that FEMA can assist them in some way; scared about what the rest of the hurricane season has in store for us.

I’m tearing up as I write this post, because I’m sitting on my couch, with an intact roof over my head, knowing that all of my family members are safe and sound. I’m thankful, and I realize how truly blessed we are. We are truly blessed. If you have some prayers or good thoughts to spare, there are thousands of people out here who could use them as they rebuild. I don’t know of many local charities right now who are accepting donations for disaster relief (feel free to leave a comment if I’m wrong, though), but I do know that the Red Cross is out here. (Just to note, I’m not writing this post to ask for money, but if you wanted to donate, here’s the link for Red Cross.)

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (very cold, shredded with your food processor or cut into small cubes)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the cold butter and sugars until just combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
  2. In another bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until everything is just barely mixed together. Add the chocolate chips and hand mix in until the chocolate chips are well mixed into the dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 12 balls, about 4 oz. each. (Size-wise, a little larger than a golf ball. You can use a jumbo cookie scoop to get a slightly rounded scoop as well.) Place the balls of dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill.
  4. Once chilled, place 6 balls per ungreased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 18-22 minutes, until browned along the edges and set in the center.
  5. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the pans before transferring to an airtight container.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

A few weeks ago, I decided it was finally time to organize the pantry. Food was just stacked all over the place, and it became pretty darn difficult to figure out what we already had when it came time for grocery shopping. The shelf I spent the most time on was the baking shelf. Y’all…I can’t even tell y’all how many extra boxes and bags of baking supplies were in there, and sadly some of them were expired. :( What a waste. Within that, I also discovered that I had two unopened jars of peanut butter, and one of them was expiring in a month. So, of course I needed to use it up ASAP. Lesson learned….I’m cleaning the pantry more often from now on!

I’m a big fan of cookies, but for some reason, I hardly ever make peanut butter cookies. I like them, but I’m so used to making cookies involving chocolate or just good ol’ sugar cookies. To me, these are sort of the forgotten cookie, and there’s really no reason for that, because peanut butter cookies are delish!

Peanut Butter Cookies
Source: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla and peanut butter, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and add the flour, baking soda and salt to the wet mixture, beating slowly until the mixture is just combined. This is a dry dough, so it could take a while to come together. If the dough is too crumbly, add a little water at a time until the dough is no longer crumbly.
  4. Using a tablespoon scoop, drop the cookie dough onto your baking sheets, making sure to leave 2 inches between each cookie. Take a fork and flatten the cookie to a 1/2 inch thickness, making a cross-hatch type of design on them.
  5. Bake the cookies for 12-16 minutes, until they just start to brown around the edges of the cookies. The tops will not brown at this point. Cool the cookies on a rack and enjoy!

 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ahh cookie dough. Whenever I see cookie dough, I imagine myself sitting on the sofa with a roll of Pillsbury dough and a spoon. Don’t judge me. I know half of you are nodding your head and smiling — y’all know how awesome it is! I know, I know…salmonella risk. However, I’ve been eating cookie dough for years and I’m still kicking. :-P

Because I’m paranoid, I just want to disclose that I’m not encouraging ANYONE to eat cookie dough containing raw eggs, like Pillsbury dough…I don’t want to get sued over this post darnit!

Anyway, since I have been seeing cookie dough all over the blogs lately, I just had to make something involving it. The craving was just too strong. I had some heavy cream in the fridge, and I figured that it would be the perfect excuse to make some ice cream. I had this recipe from Annie’s blog starred for quite a while, because it wasn’t your ordinary cookie dough ice cream. No…it was DOUBLE chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oh man, y’all. Not only are there chunks of cookie dough in there, but the ice cream is also cookie dough flavored.

Once I finished making it, it was SO hard to not eat the whole batch right out of the ice cream maker bowl. Seriously. In fact, that little ice cream bowl you see in the picture is my secret weapon while I’m calorie counting. It’s dainty, makes me feel all sorts of fancy, and it fits two scoops of ice cream on it. For this gal who could put away a pint of ice cream, this is awesome. Portion control y’all. I’m learning.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Source: Annie’s Eats (ice cream from Joy the Baker and cookie dough from The Perfect Scoop)

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough:

  • 5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp. salt)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ice cream:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. To make the cookie dough chunks, stir the melted butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until everything is smooth. Add in the flour, then the vanilla and mini chocolate chips. The dough will be very soft before chilling. Form the dough into a disk over some plastic wrap, wrap the dough well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm.
  2. While the dough is chilling, make the ice cream by first melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often over the heat (to avoid burning), until the butter is a deep golden brown color. Whisk in the heavy cream and heat the mixture until simmering. While this is going on, in a medium bowl, vigorously stir the egg yolks and the brown sugar are pale and fluffy.
  3. Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount of the cream mixture to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, whisking well. Once that’s done, slowly whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Then, add in the salt and return the egg/sugar/cream mixture to the saucepan and heat the mixture until slightly thickened, (the temperature should read 170-175 degrees on a thermometer). Immediately take the saucepan off of the heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  4. Stir the vanilla extract and milk into the egg/sugar/cream mixture until well-mixed. Then cover the bowl and chill the ice cream mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker (according to the instructions on your specific ice cream maker). While the ice cream is churning, chop the cookie dough into small chunks. Once the ice cream is done churning, transfer to a freezer safe bowl or container and stir in the chocolate chips and cookie dough chunks. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours (or until firm) before serving.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m not usually a fan of shopping. My goal is to get what I need, and get out as quickly as possible. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. You can ask my Mom. A trip to the mall was agonizing. I remember most Sundays after church, there was a decision to make. Shop with Mom or shop with Dad. I usually opted for shopping with Dad. It’s not that I have issues with my Mom. Heck, I feel super blessed to have an amazing relationship with my Mom. However, my method of operation was to go on the shopping trip that would be the shortest, and usually, that was with Dad (with the exception of his trips to the sportsmen stores).

Now, as an adult, shopping trips are still quick for me. It’s very rare that I linger around a store for a while. Take the grocery store, for instance. I can usually do the weekly shopping for H and I within 20 minutes (unless the lines are crazy). This usually means that I have to stick to my list. The only time I stray away from the list is when I’m starving, which I try to avoid, but well, a few weeks ago, I went to the store starving. The chocolate chips were definitely calling me….and they were on sale. So yeah, some chocolate chips went home with me that day. :-)

I decided that the best way to handle this situation was to make cookies, of course. :-P I’ve had this recipe pinned for quite a while, since they went viral on Pinterest, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The cool thing about these cookies is that cornstarch is involved. I was really intrigued to see how cornstarch affected the taste and texture of the cookies, so I really wanted to finally give these a try.

These end up making mini cookies (with a tbsp sized scoop), so they bake up fairly quickly. I found that these were a nice, fluffy texture, and they were very chewy as well. I prefer a more butterscotch-y flavor cookie, like these cookies, but I will say these cookies were still really good. This recipe made a few dozen mini cookies too, so this recipe was perfect to make just one batch to the office so everyone could give them a try.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Kelsey’s Apple a Day, originally from Anna Olson

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars together with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes, until the mixture if fluffy and light. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, add the egg and vanilla and mix.
  2. Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture, mixing until everything is just combined. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chunks.
  3. Using a small tablespoon sized scoop, drop dough onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges. You don’t want to cook these cookies for longer than 10 minutes (that will overdo it), and just as a note, the tops of the cookies will not brown during baking.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Then, move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

 

 

 

Thin Mint Blondies

Thin Mint Blondies

Somehow these cookies have survived in our house for well over a month. I guess I was afraid to open these or something. I mean, these cookies only come once a year, and I’m known for eating these a sleeve at a time. I can behave when it comes to Tagalongs, but Thin Mints? Oh no. I had to ignore them…had to.

Then, this past Saturday, I opened my freezer and stared the Thin Mints down. Then, in my cheat day rage, I ran to Pinterest and looked over recipes using thin mints and stumbled upon these blondies. Of course I had to find a way to make thin mints less diet friendly. :-P

The wonderful thing about bars or brownies is they whip up so quickly. It’s kind of dangerous, but it’s also a good thing when you want to bake something for your coworkers after getting home from work, but also before you have to start cooking supper. :-) I had a small taste of these when I was cutting into them, and whoa. If I wasn’t counting my darn calories, I’d save half of the pan for myself.

If you happen to be one of the few with a box of thin mints stashed away, definitely give these a shot. You, or whomever you give these amazing bars to, will thank you a million times over. Just to note: The original recipe calls for Andes chips, but since I couldn’t find these in the store, I made them with a mixture of milk and white chocolate chips.

Thin Mint Blondies
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 box Thin Mint Cookies, cut or broken in half
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set it aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then, add in the white and brown sugars and whip the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes until everything looks light. Scrape the bowl down
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla and beat the mixture on low speed for about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl after adding each egg.
  4. Mix the salt and flour with a whisk separately in a small bowl. Then, add your flour mixture to your wet mixture with the mixture on low. Mix everything together until everything is just fully incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the milk chocolate chips as well as half of the box (one sleeve) of the Thin Mints.
  6. Spread the batter into your 9×13 pan. If it’s too thick to use your spatula, dip your fingers in warm water and spread the batter using your fingers.
  7. Bake the blondies for 20-25 minutes, until they are set in the middle.
  8. Once you take them out of the oven, working quickly, sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly on top of the blondies. Allow them to sit for a minute, and then gently press the other half of the Thin Mints into the top of the blondies.
  9. Allow the pan to fully cool on a rack before serving.

 

 

 

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies

Easter S'mores Cookies

I absolutely love seasonal candies. When it comes to Easter, it’s so dang hard to resist my favorite candies in pastels. It just makes them that much cuter. This doesn’t bode well for my thighs, since I’ve probably consumed about 45902 Cadbury caramel eggs this season alone. :-P When I was walking down the candy aisle earlier this week, I thought about baking with Easter candy just so I could have yet another excuse to buy another bag of candy. Then it hit me when I saw the Peeps: S’mores. I know I’ve seen s’mores cookies on a few food blogs before, so I grabbed a bag of Sixlets and Peeps (as well as another box of Cadbury caramel eggs…ugh).

When I got home, I thought that colorful sprinkles would make these cookies even cuter. I mean, why not? I ended up finding a bottle of rainbow (chocolate) chips by the sprinkles. I think that was fate, since the original recipe called for mini chocolate chips, which I didn’t have (whoops). So, with all of these colorful ingredients on my counter, I was pretty darn excited to make these cookies! In fact, when the first batch of cookies were done, I really didn’t wait long to pull one of these off of the cooling rack and devour it. And y’all, these cookies are just awesome. Not only are they super cute and colorful; they’re insanely addictive. This recipe also makes quite a few cookies for sharing. :-) I used my small cookie scoop to scoop these on the cookie sheet, but since this dough spreads a good bit, it still makes a decent sized cookie. In the end, I had enough cookies to share with both mine and H’s coworkers this time around. :-)

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod, originally from Baked Perfection

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Wilton Rainbow Chip
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Easter Peeps (appx. the same size as mini marshmallows)
  • Easter Sixlets

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt, until well blended.
  2. In another bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat for about another minute.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the flour mixture slowly, and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Fold in the rainbow chips with a spatula.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop (appx. tbsp. sized), scoop the cookie dough out, giving about 2 inches between each cookie (like I said, these do spread). Bake for about 7 minutes and take the cookies out of the oven.
  6. Immediately add the sixlets and peeps, by pressing them gently into the cookie. Place the cookies back in the oven and bake them for another 3-4 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a cooling rack, and serve!

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

M&M and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Happy early St. Paddy’s Day y’all! When I was a kid, my family used to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New Orleans. The parades for St. Paddy’s Day aren’t anything like the ones at Mardi Gras. The prized throws are vegetables. That’s right, y’all. They throw vegetables at these parades. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes…you name it! I remember catching these things as a kid, and thinking that these were the most boring throws ever. Of course veggies are boring to a kid! The tradition is that you take home your catches, and then make a stew for your family for the holiday. :-)

The fun part for me was when some older men would walk in the parade carrying these huge displays of fake flowers, and they would hand them to the ladies and little girls. My sister and I used to compare bouquets at the end of the parade, and man, it was so much fun to get flowers as a little girl!

Sadly, I haven’t been to a parade in a long time, which really should be remedied next year, but the memories I have from my childhood just make me so psyched for the holiday. Not to mention, St. Paddy’s Day is the week of my birthday (as well as my sister’s)! Her birthday is actually today! If you’re reading this, Happy Birthday Sis!

As far as these cookies go, I’ve been wanting to make these M&M cookies for a while, and since I had a bag of Christmas M&Ms leftover from the holiday bake-palooza, I took a few minutes to take out the green M&Ms, add some white chocolate chunks and make these cookies finally happen. I have no idea how that bag of M&Ms lasted this long in our house, actually, but I guess I’m getting some willpower from the good ol’ diet. :-)

Strictly for quality control purposes, I had to try one of these bad boys. :-P It took a lot for me to not grab a second or a third, because I just LOVE M&M cookies! This recipe couldn’t be easier either, since it only requires one bowl. I’m all about doing less dishes, so these cookies are even more awesome because of that!

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Source: mildly adapted from Sing For Your Supper, originally from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup & 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1.5 cups M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment or Silpat sheets.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, for about two minutes. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix until well-incorporated. Add the egg and mix until blended. Scrape the bowl down, add the milk and mix again.
  3. Add the flour and beat the mixture until just mixed together. Do not overbeat.
  4. Using a spatula, lightly stir in the M&Ms and white chocolate chunks.
  5. With a regular cookie scoop, drop the cookies on your sheet, allowing 2 inches between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown and slightly browner along the edges. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the cookie sheet before serving.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I know that Valentine’s Day is really just a typical day where Hallmark and the flower shop make bank, but sometimes it’s fun to just give in and be gushy about the day. This past weekend, my husband and I decided to make our own Valentine’s Day dinner instead of wasting crazy amounts of money and time at a restaurant around here. We made an insanely indulgent dish (hello butter!) consisting of corn grits, crawfish etouffee and fried jump shrimp. I know…cheat day! Since H and I have been calorie counting for a couple of weeks now, it made us sluggish the rest of the day. I guess our bodies are getting used to this healthy thing.

So, today I figured I’d share with y’all something that would make your cheat day complete. :-P  The plan was to bring this dessert to work for a charity bake sale, so I knew if I made these, I could easily get them out of the house if they were too tasty and tempting. Thank goodness too, because in my quality control test (ha!), I found that these were extremely tasty! I hope they sell out, because I don’t want to bring any of these home! Or maybe I do, but MyFitnessPal might yell at me.

Just a note: I will say that one batch does not make many of these. I made a double batch for the sale, and ended up with 22 whoopie pies.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Source: found on Big Apple Nosh (cookie recipe originally from Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients:

For the whoopie pies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 of a  1-oz bottle red (preferably No-Taste Red by Wilton or Super Red by Americolor) food coloring

For the filling:

  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lb confectioners sugar, sifted (you may not need all of it) 
  • pink food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well blended.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about two minutes until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and mix until well blended. Add in the egg, vanilla and food coloring and beat the wet mixture until everything is incorporated.
  4. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture a third at a time (alternatively), until the mixture is just mixed. (Don’t overbeat)
  5. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the whoopie pies on the baking sheet, giving about an inch in between each cookie for rising/spreading.
  6. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the tops of the whoopie pies are set. Allow all of the cookies to cool before filling.
  7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter together for a couple of minutes until fluffy and light. Add the vanilla and optional food coloring. Then, in 1/2 cup increments, add the confectioners sugar until the frosting is fairly firm but still easily stirrable. (A good way to test this is to put an offset spatula in the frosting bowl. If the spatula remains standing, it’s firm enough.)
  8. Place the filling in a ziploc bag with the tip cut off and pipe some of the filling on the flat side of one cookie. Then sandwich that cookie together with another whoopie pie that isn’t frosted (where the flat tops meet).